By HELEN ZULU –
THE first phase of the 2,300-kilometre regional power inter-connector project to link Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya (ZTK) power grids is expected to be completed by December this year.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) energy expert, Seif Elnasr Mohamedain said feasibility studies for Mbeya in Tanzania and Kasama-Kabwe sections of the project were on course.
Dr Mohamedain said the European Union (EU) had provided a total of 4.4 million Euros to finance preparatory activities of the project and that the phase covered sections of the project in each of the three countries.
“This project has been taken up by COMESA, the East Africa Commission and the Southern African Development Community Tripartite grouping. The group is fast-tracking the implementation process and have managed to secure funding for the preparatory activities,” Dr Mohamedain said.
According to a statement issued on COMESA website, the consultancy services to undertake complementary studies on power trade volumes, wheeling arrangements and impact of the ZTK project on interconnected network, would commence by April this year, after evaluation of the bids.
Dr Mohamedain said the study would facilitate energy trade among Eastern and Southern African countries.
He also said preparations were underway for the Financiers conference whose overall objective is to lobby and secure finance for construction of the remaining sections of the ZTK namely, Iringa-Mbeya-Tunduma in Tanzania and Nakonde-Kasama-Pensulo-Kabwe in Zambia.
Zambia commissioned the 381km, 330kV Kasama-Pensulo section, built at a cost of U$S153 million in December last year.
Among the key milestones that the Energy ministers from the three countries agreed upon, was to ensure completion of phase one of the ZTK by the end of 2016 with phase II, set for commissioning by December 2018.
Once the ZTK power interconnector project is successfully completed, it would help meet the immediate and future power demand in the region by linking the East African Power Pool (EAPP) with the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP).